Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Cascades in the Morning!

Departing out of Portland this morning, we had a spectacular view of the volcanic peaks of the Cascade range in the northwest United States. Below are several pictures I was able to snap.

When you fly, if you are not looking outside, you are missing out on many opportunities to see God's creation from a perspective you normally don't get. So... look outside!


The peak to the left is Mt. St. Helens, which erupted in the early 1980's. The peak on the right is Mt. Rainier, just southeast of Seattle. It doesn't look very big, but it's a long way away!

Mount Hood, just east of Portland, Oregon. Sadly, three climbers lost their lives on this mountain just a few weeks ago. Mt. Hood also hosts a ski area on a glacier...and many alpine racers from all over North America converge here in the summers to practice. Imagine skiing gates and dodging butterflies at the same time!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sunset over New York

Here are two pictures of a beautiful sunset as viewed from 38,000 over New York.

Enjoy...and praise God for the beauty of His creation!

Winglet Picture

I was able to get a great picture at the airport today that illustrates two different winglet configurations in a single shot. In the foreground is an Airbus A319 (about a third the size of the plane in the background!). You will note it's winglets are not very large, but they extend both upwards and downwards from the tip of the wing. In the background is a Boeing 747-400. It's winglets are huge and extend upwards at an angle. I'm sure there are aeronautical engineers out there who can expound upon the benefits of the different configurations, but suffice it to say that they increase the efficiency of the wing, which translates directly to fuel savings and increased range for the plane.

Friday, December 15, 2006

What's With the Winglets?

Since no one has asked a question recently, I thought I'd come up with my own.

Lately there has been a rash of modifications to planes, adding those large winglets. This isn't necessarily new. The 747-400 has had winglets since it was first produced as has the Airbus A320. So why are airlines suddenly spending considerable sums to equip their fleets with winglets? What do they do, other than look pretty cool?

As a wing moves through the air, the shape causes there to be higher pressure on the bottom than on the top. At the end of the wing that pressure escapes and tries to make it to the top. This causes small, horizontal tornadoes off the tip of each wing. These are known as "vortices." In high humidity conditions, you can sometimes see them. The thing about it is that, especially at slower speeds, these vortices cause a tremendous amount of drag, which in turn causes a much higher fuel consumption because the engines must compensate for the extra drag.

The addition of winglets interrupts the creation of these vortices. You can't stop them altogether, but you can reduce them...and any reduction in these tornadoes reduces the drag on the airplane...and any reduction in drag reduces the fuel consumption...and any reduction in fuel consumption reduces costs, and increases the range of the plane. A couple of airlines have added the winglets to 757's in order to increase their range to the point they can fly across the Atlantic.

I am going to try to get a couple of pictures of winglets to post for those who are still scratching their heads about what I am talking about.

Friday, December 01, 2006


In an earlier post, I noted that crop circles won out over Yosemite. Today I had the pleasure of flying right over Yosemite National Park and was able to get a beautiful shot that included both El Capitan and Half Dome. So I thought I'd post it here for you... and then you will understand my confusion at why the crop circles brought more interest on that previous flight!

1,000 MPH Closure

Here is a picture I took over Southern Colorado. We are at 39,000 feet and this USAir 757 is at 38,000 feet. Our closure rate is in the neighborhood of 1,000 miles per hour! Trust me when I say it is hard to keep the plane in the viewfinder of the camera!